How can I make traveling with kids easier and more fun?
Traveling with children can be an enjoyable adventure. There are many things to consider and arrange when planning a family trip, and being well-prepared will help to ensure a stress-free and leisurely vacation. A checklist will provide you with peace of mind that you have everything your family needs for a fun getaway.
Here’s a list of things you may need:
Important Documents and Items
Have important items, such as health insurance cards, in-case-of-emergency contact information, credit cards and cash or travelers checks organized and secured. Make sure all members of the family who need to know about these documents know where they are and when to use them.
If you’re traveling outside of the country, your family may need to bring passports, birth certificates or immunization records. Be sure to check the immunization list for the country you’re visiting at least six months prior to travel. Also be sure to check that all family members have updated passports at least six months prior to travel.
Be sure any prescription medications have been refilled and that your supply will last the entire trip.
Getting to your destination doesn’t have to be complicated. Make travel as seamless as possible with these tips:
- Dress children in layers and avoid clothing that could prevent them from reaching the bathroom in time like buttons or zippers.
- Check-in online to save time and avoid unnecessary lines.
- Fly early in the day to avoid delays at takeoff and landing.
- After passing security prepare for airplane cabin air pressure by buying water or filling refillable water bottles at water stations; swallowing during ascent and descent helps prevent ear discomfort.
- Have properly sized car seats installed correctly.
- Expect to make stops every few hours.
- Pack an overnight hotel bag with bathing suits and fresh clothes if you’re planning an overnight stay on the way.
No matter how you decide to travel, allow extra time to account for unforeseen delays and rest stops to reduce stress.
Keep Them Entertained
The route to your destination may be lengthy and children can become restless and irritable. Having entertainment can help to pass the time and prevent meltdowns.
Keep them occupied with:
- Crayons and paper.
- Books and coloring books.
- Small toys and road games like “Eye spy”.
- Movies or shows loaded on a smartphone or tablet – let them share device with a headphone splitter.
- Child-sized headphones.
- Download family-friendly podcasts for older children.
- Pack a back-up pacifier to comfort infants.
- Keep a secret surprise or reward handy for whenever your child seems to get extremely restless and needs a “good behavior” incentive.
Snacks are a Must
Snacks are a necessity and also help to occupy time. They provide your child with energy, something to do and help prevent meltdowns. Pack snacks that are easy to eat on the go and have enough protein and fiber to make you and your children feel full, such as:
- Whole grain cereal and yogurt
- Pretzels and peanut butter
- String cheese and crackers
- Apples and nut butter
- Nuts and granola bars
While traveling and munching, it is also helpful to keep napkins, wet-wipes, and plastic bags handy to prevent and clean up messes.
Healthy Start, Happy Finish
No one likes to travel when they’re sick, including children. Pack hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes and medications as preventative measures while traveling. Consider bringing fever reducers and pain relievers, medication to relieve stomach upset, a thermometer, and plenty of bandages. It may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the location of local hospitals or minute-clinics at your final destination.
Family vacations are wonderful opportunities for making memories and bonding as a family. Set your family up for vacation success by anticipating your family’s wants and needs to make for smooth sailing and an enjoyable trip.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC QUality Team at 19 Dec 2017, 11:00 AM